We have been providing you prospect interviews recently, but I was thinking that since we’re a draft site that is suppose to cover all teams and bias to none I should reach out to some of the experts for different teams to give you an idea of what the experts are thinking about the teams they cover and the upcoming draft.
My first interview is with Ed Valentine of Big Blue View who sat down and took some time to answer some questions I posed to him.
1) What are the biggest needs the Giants need to address in the off-season?
Of course everyone’s order of priority is different, but I think the two areas almost everyone agrees on that the Giants have to address are offensive line and linebacker. Injuries and age make the offensive line a priority, and Tom Coughlin said at the Combine a center is pretty much a necessity. As for linebacker, the lack of a big-time play-maker — still — makes this an area to address. Other spots could be running back depending on who stays and who goes, depth at corner, possibly a fullback or blocking tight end if the right guy is there. Lots of possibilities, but linebacker and offensive line are the ‘musts’ on my list.
2). How are the rookies of the last two draft classes coming along?
Well, I recently summarized the ’09 draft by saying it’s ‘Not looking like Jerry Reese’s best work.’ The Giants had nine picks in that class and only the first one, Hakeem Nicks, has been an impact player. I still have some hope for Will Beatty, who I think is a good player, and a couple of the other guys. But, this draft was underwhelming. Right now it looks like Reese’s worst as Giants GM.
The 2010 class? Too early to tell. Jason Pierre-Paul looks like a stud, and is another example of why you take the best player — you never really know for sure what your needs are going to be. I have high hopes for Linval Joseph, the second-round pick. I think Mitch Petrus could be a starter (5th round). Sixth-round pick Adrian Tracy has a chance. Many will disagree, but I think Matt Dodge is going to punt in the NFL for a long time. Really too early to grade this this class, but it could work out fine.
3) Springboarding off the last question…do you think there any breakout candidates in the past two draft classes for this upcoming season?
From the ’09 class maybe Beatty, just because I think he still has a shot at a starting job. Otherwise, I would say Barden.
From the 2010 class I am looking at Joseph. I don’t think Barry Cofield returns, and even if he does I think Joseph will be in the defensive tackle rotation. I think this guy could be a stud as a run defender, and I’m looking forward to seeing him get consistent playing time.
4) Jerry Reese has been the General Manager since 2007 and had a rookie class that greatly contributed to the Giants Superbowl Run. How would you rate his success in the draft since 2007?
Reese is an outstanding GM. He has had some bad luck with the Kenny Phillips knee injury, the misfortune of Chad Jones and even injuries to Barden and Tracy. He hasn’t had the ‘magic’ drafts of 2007, but I have faith in him. The ’09 class I think he may have gotten a little too cute, reaching for a guy like Travis Beckum the Giants simply have no real role for, but I still have tremendous faith that he knows what he is doing.
5) Do you think there is a specific type of player that the Giants look for in the N.F.L. Draft?
You’ve been doing your homework. I have had conversations with some NFL people about this, and I know that in the case of some positions — like linebacker — the Giants believe strongly in size/speed measurables. Reese has an eye for talent, but over the years you start to see that he loves the ‘physical freak’ type players. Pierre-Paul, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Barden, Beckum (an H-Back), Joseph (a 320-pound monster Chris Canty says is the strongest guy on the team), even Mitch Petrus (who repped 225 pounds a then-record 45 times at the 2010 Combine). You look for the guys with the really striking measurables or a physical characteristic that makes them intriguing and Reese will be sniffing around them.
6) Even though it’s still early in the draft process do you have a feel for any specific players that will really intrigue the New York Giants?
Well, the guy who most of the mocks have pegged for the Giants in the first round is Anthony Castonzo of Boston College. That makes sense, but if you go by what we just talked about in terms of the measurables watch out for USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith if he is still on the board or Colorado’s Nate Solder, the huge 6-foot-8 offensive tackle. There are also a host of linebackers the Giants could look at — watch our for BC’s Mark Herzlich around the third or fourth round.
7). Moving away from the Giants philosophies and to your own, what do you personally believe the Giants plan of attack should be in the draft? Is there any particular player you think would fit best with the Giants?
Well, if Reese has made any real ‘philosophical’ mistake in the past couple of seasons I think he has taken a few players who have loads of talent, size, speed, etc., but don’t really fit what the Giants do. Beckum is one — the Giants just don’t have a place for an H-Back. Clint Sintim is another — a 3-4 defensive player the Giants are trying to make into a 4-3 linebacker. I would like to see the Giants get away from taking ‘projects’ and take more players who are fits for their system and have better chances to step in quickly.
8). Does the news of the Bradshaw tender mean the Giants will shy away from a Running back in this draft class?
I doubt it. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the Giants take a running back fairly early — and Alabama’s Mark Ingram will be difficult to pass up if he is there at 19. I am not convinced that Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs will both be Giants next season.
9) Anything else to add….
Only that this draft is a critical one for the Giants, I think. It will be interesting to see if the labor situation impacts the types of players teams select — if they pay more attention to need over BPA.
I’d like to thank Ed for taking time out of his busy schedule to give us an insight into the Giants and the upcoming draft.
I hope you enjoy this series as we have a few other interviews coming out with people from different teams.
If there is a favorite team reporter you have that you would like me to consider interviewing leave me his name and I’ll see what I can do to make it happen.
A few housekeeping notes:
In case you missed it: earlier today we posted our interview with Nebraska WR Niles Paul.
Upcoming this week is also an interview Boise State CB Brandyn Thompson hear what he has to say about his true feelings about the BCS system
We are schedule to interview with two other players as well this week so hopefully that pans out. I’ll keep you updated.
Also posted today:
Our second Denver Broncos Team Mock Draft
Follow us on our new twitter account @NFLmocks
And if you’re willing to accept my challenge of making your own mock email me at [email protected] and I”ll post it on the front page for thousands of readers to read (One challenger already accepted and I’ll be posting that mock Tomorrow night or Wednesday morning).